Chris Lewis's Article

How Shame Inhibits Personal Growth and Development: From Hide-and-Seek to Hide-and-Blame

Part 2 in a series on the neuroscience of surprise and the weight of wonder. This series explores how raising children up is really the work of growing adults down: grounding and embodying the Self in relationship, integrating the brain and coming out of hiding. My 4-year-old is hardwired for surprise. This might not be apparent in her favorite game: hide-and-seek. Because when Taliah was younger, especially, these games ended almost before they began. Often the seeker, eyes closed and counting, was startled by a knee-high tackle from a toddler screaming with delight. Surprise! Taliah had come tearing out of her hiding place if she’d even made it that far. Her stamina for the game has increased – along with h...

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Raising Children Up, Growing Adults Down: Rewiring the Brain and Reconnecting the Body in Relationship

Part 1 in a series on the neuroscience of surprise and the weight of wonder. This series explores how raising children up is really the work of growing adults down: grounding and embodying the Self in relationship, integrating the brain, and coming out of hiding.

The Splendid Splinter

My young daughter’s blonde head, bellowing with sunbeams fresh from the back porch, bobs its way through the kitchen door. On this cool spring morning in Seattle, it’s hard to know which is more surprising: that the sun has conned its way through the forecasted gray clouds, or that Chloe is bouncing about like a jackrabbit. “Dad, Dad! Help me!” she winces. Between hops, she is trying to catch both her breath and her tende...

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Navigating Grief and Loss: Finding a Grief Pathway that Works for You

Endings and Leavings | Part 9 of a 9-part series on the deeper Self that awakens in laboring through grief, living through loss, and embracing endings as the seedbed of new beginnings.   The first eight articles in this series sought to explore endings as a reflection of the mystery and complexity that both nuances and nurtures our humanity. That grief can pull us into the gray, and defy words, doesn’t mean that it lacks definition. At times grief work must respect the human need to categorize and compartmentalize our experience. The grieving process is shaped by many variables: the type of loss experienced, one’s personality and culture, a person’s individualized style of grieving, and to what degree the los...

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Fear and the Overstated 7 Stages of Grief: Taking the Griever Off the Clock

Endings and Leavings | Part 8 of a 9-part series on the deeper Self that awakens in laboring through grief, living through loss, and embracing endings as the seedbed of new beginnings.  

Do not go gentle into that good night … rage, rage against the dying of the light. (poet Dylan Thomas)

My wife’s voice, shrouded by muffled sobs, was barely audible on the phone. She did not want our daughter to overhear the shocking news. Not yet. The staff at Chloe’s school had called just a minute ago: her kindergarten teacher had died suddenly in his home. (From complications related to a seizure, we later learned.) Chloe’s beloved ...

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Grief Support and Second Skins: Shedding Our Shame, Holding Our Longing

Endings and Leavings | Part 7 of a 9-part series on the deeper Self that awakens in laboring through grief, living through loss, and embracing endings as the seedbed of new beginnings.   In 6th-century Ireland, a Celtic abbot named “Brendan the Navigator” was known for voyaging with his band of monks into the wild, watery wasteland of the Atlantic Ocean … and instructing them to throw their oars overboard. It was considered an act of trust and devotion: to seek God’s face unencumbered by mainland distractions, to face their fears in the refining harshness of the unknown, the “desert of the sea.” Some perished, by storm or starvation. Some drifted, in animal-skin skiffs called currachs, to distant island...

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Complicated Grief, Trauma, and Fear of Breakdown: How Dissociation Dulls the Growing Edge of Grief

Endings and Leavings | Part 6 of an 8-part series on the deeper Self that awakens in laboring through grief, living through loss, and embracing endings as the seedbed of new beginnings.

“Fear of breakdown is the fear of a breakdown that has already [happened].” (Donald Winnicott)

Our fear of endings can be traced to our very beginnings. Birth itself is already a traumatic ending – leaving the warmth and severed security of the womb. The skilled midwife who so artfully handles this break, who weaves together endings and beginnings, has been mostly replaced by a hyper-modernized, medical model of birth. Hospitals manage a fea...

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How Grief Counseling Re-members and Retells the Story

The Art and Artifacts of Grieving Endings and Leavings | Part 5 of an 8-part series on the deeper Self that awakens in laboring through grief, living through loss, and embracing endings as the seedbed of new beginnings Grieving is not simply a process to follow or a season to passively endure. It is not something that merely happens to you. Grieving is a creative act that eventually inspires change and renewal, as we work to heal the traumatic endings of our past. To grieve is to create.

Embodying Memory

In grief counseling, rituals and artifacts help us to embody the unresolved endings that we tend to float above or fearfully shut down. To “embody” an ending means to ...

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Chris Lewis

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